The City of Revelstoke is looking for a contractor to rehabilitate the exterior of city hall.
The work would include removing the old stucco, replacing the exterior building envelope including the stairs and replacing windows and doors.
The intent is to mimic the historical characteristics of the original building, which dates from 1939. It was built when the city’s administration had outgrown the former small two-story building.
The council in 1939 decided to use a modernist design. It was one of the first modernist civic buildings outside the major urban areas of the province.
The fire department occupied the rear portion of the building until they moved out in 1982. The characteristic tower on city hall, still seen today, was used for drying the fire hose.
Today, the tower is used to store council minutes and since it’s a former fire station, it’s fire proof.
The cost for rehabilitating city hall is pegged at $800,000 and was approved previously in the 2019 and will not impact the 2020 budget.
The Columbia Basin Trust has contributed $200,000 towards the project and according to a news release, the city will seek additional funding through grants.
The city has been talking about replacing or removing the stucco on city hall since at least 2010, when it announced plans to fix the crumbling exterior. There have been instances of large pieces of stucco breaking off from the building and the city said it’s a safety concern.
However, a protest from the Canadian Art Deco Society stopped the plan in its tracks at the time. Instead, the city spent $23,000 to study the building.
Donald Luxton, a heritage building consultant who wrote the letter protesting the proposed repairs, prepared a report that recommended the city remove the stucco, which was installed in 1972, and restore the building to its original condition of painted concrete.
In 2017, the City of Revelstoke said, after studying the building, that the concrete was crumbling and couldn’t be rehabilitated. It could be patched, but the process would ruin the historical look of the building, have a shorter life cycle, be expensive, not improve heating/cooling efficiency and would not meet qualifications for grant funding.
Instead, the city will rehabilitate the exterior using an exterior insulated finish system (EFIS) that will mimic the original cement. According to the news release, it’s the most economical choice, will maintain the architectural style of the building and increase heating/cooling efficiency.
EFIS is a class of non-load bearing building cladding systems that provide exterior walls with an insulated, water-resistant and finished surface. It’s made from a combination of materials, such as glass-fibers, gypsum and polystyrene.
Dawn Low, the chief administration officer, said EFIS will make the building last a lot longer.
“The project not only shows our commitment to conserving our valued heritage but it will also add to the beauty of our downtown core,” said Mayor Gary Sulz in a news release.
Bids for the proposed work will be accepted until Mar. 18.
Low said the city will be having an information meeting about the building’s rehabilitation and history at a later time.
She continued the city hopes to have the majority of the work finished by the end of the year.